7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #158: Featuring Susan Gaber

h1 March 14th, 2010 by jules

I’m featuring this morning two of the acrylic paintings by Susan Gaber that make up JoAnn Early Macken’s beautiful new picture book, Waiting Out the Storm, released by Candlewick this past week, I think it was. At the back of the book, Gaber pretty much summarizes the appeal of this book, so how about I quote her, shall I? She writes, “I’m inspired and held in awe by how this graceful story takes on fear, love, and compassion all in a simple and familiar situation.”

That familiar situation is a storm. A young girl and her mother are outside: “Mama?” the girl asks, as the wind picks up. “Yes, buttercup?” her mother responds. And then the girl asks, “What’s that I hear?” Her mother tries to soothe the girl by explaining why the wind whistles, why thunder stomps, how lightning is tricky, and how all the animals stay safe during the rough weather.


And birds? Where do birds go? Beneath Mama’s wings. / When rains fall and winds blow, / the mama bird sings, / ‘Hush, little chickadees. / Never you fear. / There, there. You’re safe now, / and I am right here.”

Now, just look at that gorgeous spread, and please click it to enlarge and see it in more detail. Gaber’s art work is detailed, with richly-colored spreads, most of them taking up every inch of space. This is one to pore over. (Anyone else familiar with Phyllis Root’s Ten Sleepy Sheep, which was a favorite when my girls were smaller, may recognize Gaber’s art.) The author herself has said about the illustrations, “Susan Gaber’s illustrations capture the kind of safe haven I wish every child (and chipmunk and chickadee) could enjoy.” As for the text, written in a call-and-response style (making good use of italics) and never once talking down to the child reader: It is so warm, cozy, and lyrical that you want to crawl into Mama’s world, look into adoption, and maybe take a wee, comfy nap.


We’re comfy inside. Yes, we’ll stay dry and warm, / cozy together here out of the storm. / Tomorrow the sun will shine. / Then we’ll go play. / We’ll splash in the pond / like the ducks do all day. / But for now, let’s just watch. / It’s a wonder to see. / I am so glad I have you to share it with me.
(Click on the image to see the entire spread from which this illustration comes.)

You all know I normally like to point out the professional reviewers’ opinions on such books: Thus far, I see a starred Booklist review:

“Providing a light narrative framework and a breezily conversational, yet poetic exchange, the verse likens the girl and her mother to the animals sheltering, safe and snug, from the storm. Gaber’s captivating artwork, combining watercolor, pencil, and charcoal with digital renderings, is simultaneously strong and delicate. From the impressionistic pictures of clouds and rain to the cutaway view showing the chipmunks underground to the cozy indoor scenes, the range of subjects and approaches is broad, but they are unified by style, palette, and a lyrical sense of flowing lines and forms. Lovely to look at and pleasing to listen to, this is just right for reading aloud on a rainy day.”

It’s both gentle and exuberant at the same time, if that makes any sense. And Gaber’s art is a feast for the eyes.

WAITING OUT THE STORM. Text copyright © 2010 by Joann Early Macken. Illustrations copyright © 2010 by Susan Gaber. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA.

* * * * * * *

As a reminder, 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks is a weekly meeting ground for taking some time to reflect on Seven(ish) Exceptionally Fabulous, Beautiful, Interesting, Hilarious, or Otherwise Positive Noteworthy Things from the past week, whether book-related or not, that happened to you.

* * * Jules’ Kicks * * *

Well, I hesitate to slap a picture of my child up here, since—arguably—only the parents and grandparents care to see it, but these are my kicks, right? The things that made my week? My oldest turned six. All my seven kicks this week (plus some) can be wrapped up in her. She scatters joy. And I can’t believe she’s six. And I love this picture I took a few weeks ago:

Also, we had her birthday party at the little studio where she takes art classes every weekend, and her oh-so smart and creative art teacher made this cardboard princess dress for her, and all the kids decorated it. How cool is that? I ask you. We arranged the party around my daughter’s one and only request: Glitter glue.

My sweet daughter turning six is enough joy for a week — it spills over into next month, in fact. I can hardly put my arms around that happiness.

What about you? What are YOUR kicks this week?

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30 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #158: Featuring Susan Gaber”

  1. Waiting Out the Storm sounds and looks lovely. Hi there, little duck!

    Jules: Happy 6th birthday to her! What a joyful girl she is. Kids three times her age ask me if we sell glitter glue. (Sadly, we don’t.)

    My kicks for the past week:
    1) Hearing a great live speech
    2) Hints of things to come
    3) Good books
    4) Making an effort
    5) Solving problems
    6) Getting a callback (the 23rd)
    7) Knowing others trust me


  2. Jules, Piper is awesome!!! And wow she really looks like you.

    Little Willow, hope you’re having a lovely weekend. :o)

    Kicks:

    1. my brothers
    2. good books
    3. good writers
    4. good illustrators
    5. pizza
    6. friends
    7. the future
    8. the Cantonese language


  3. Thanks for this feature. Just right for this rain-pouring-down downpour of a Sunday morning. I love the spot illo of the duckling by Susan Gaber.
    1. above!
    2. being immersed for the past several weeks in set design and production of my daughter’s middle school “Annie” and the kick is: the miracle that is any student theatrical musical production. All these people come together all enveloped in their own stories and one additional story that they render for the community to share. Hooray for community theater.
    3. For friendships that inspire and challenge…
    4. tulip leaves and forced apple blossoms despite the raw weather.
    5. work!
    6. The Texas State Board of Education: now that’s a kick isn’t it?
    7. The sound of water dripping – outside!


  4. Hi everyone!

    Quick drive-by comment to wish Piper Happy Birthday again, and QUACK! What a sweet book that is. Yay for princess dresses, too!


  5. Jules, you’re right — “richly-colored” is the phrase for that artwork. A quick glance out of the corner of the eye and you might say, Hmm, lovely pictures, not much color… but that would be wrong. If you actually stop and look at it, soak in it, you can see how richly colored it is. (And as always, your gigundo blow-ups of the images help on that score — thanks!)

    And congratulations to the 6-year-old — what a great photo that is!

    When I first read “cardboard princess dress,” I thought, like, Uh……. cardboard? But yeah, I can see how that works, especially as a group project. Cool!

    This seems to be a week of rat-a-tat kicks for everybody. Maybe Spring is springing everywhere and everybody’s just eager to get outside?

    I’ll see if I can convince my own kicks to follow the theme…

    1. Crossing the 100K-word mark.
    2. New hearing aids.
    3. Book reviews (writing/reading).
    4. Planning a sibling get-together (2nd annual!).
    5. This Onion video. (Caution: somewhat mature content.)
    6. Interesting (however vague) ideas.
    7. The Coen Brothers (even just their… brother-ness).


  6. Such spring sweetness in those illustrations. What a wonderful book.
    Jules, Piper “she scatters joy,” LOVE THAT! Looks like her brithday was amazing. Fun to put a pic with a face.
    LW, here’s to continues success!
    Tarie, what books are you reading?
    Rob, tulips leaves, mine are starting to bloom.
    My kicks:
    1. Jules leaving a comment at Deowriter about one of my poems.
    2. My 400th post at Deowriter. Not too late to get in on the contest here: http://tinyurl.com/yj6o8jm
    3. I have a prompt word featured at Haiku Bones.
    4. Grand girls…saw all three this week.
    5. The local SCBWI spring gala with a gaggle of authors and books at the Barnes and Noble.
    6. That our local Barnes and Noble stores are extremely supportive of our local authors.
    7. Spring. Tulips. Sun.
    Have a great week.


  7. What wonderful artwork, i too cannot find another word but rich. I think it’s very true to life in the representation of human character.
    My kicks (just reminds me of snaps in Lrgally Blonde)

    1. being ok after a car crash I was in (got to see the positives in these situations)
    2. discovering some great new books.
    3. getting excited over the Moomin cookbook
    4.lunch followed by a walk down the beach with my best friend
    5.going on a spending spree on amazon
    6. receiving a beautiful cake stand as a gift
    7. getting higher blog viewing figures.

    wow, when you stop and think about your week, it’s easy to get seven points. even though i’ve spent all week massaging my whiplashed neck and phoning the insurance people and car garage, i’m in high spirits.


  8. I not only like the rat-a-tat kicks here (it’s fun to do it differently and neat that everyone seems to be on the same wavelength), but I love that John called it that. If folks are, indeed, out enjoying spring instead, I’m all for that.

    Little Willow, break a leg on the callback. Also, I think “hints of things to come” is a great kick, one we should all have every week, as long as it’s not hints of, you know, ZOMBIES. With you, I know it’s a good thing.

    Tarie, I think your brothers are a kick for all of us! We always love hearing stories about them.

    Hi, Rob! You had a good week. Also: What did the Texas State Board of Education do? I’m so behind on, well…everything. The news. Blog-reading. You-name-it.

    Jama, thanks for the birthday wishes.

    John, as for the cardboard dress…I’m always reminded, despite my big plans maybe getting in the way, how easily kids can be amused. The art teacher also had a huge cardboard castle up, and the kids all SQUEALED over it and adored it. Just one trip to Home Depot for discarded cardboard, and you’re set. ….Congrats on kick #1, John! I assume that means your work-in-progress and not, say, blogging. …TIME INTERLUDE. I just stopped to watch that video, and I’M STILL LAUGHING. Oh heavens, so funny. This “free association” is why I’ve given up on most of the news sources. Oh lordy thank you for that.

    Jone, Ralph Waldo Emerson gets the credit for “scatter joy.” You have tulips already? I’m jealous. It’s rather chilly and rainy here now. Congrats on your 400th post!

    Hi, Lucy! I’m glad you’re okay from the car crash. Yikes and yikes again. I agree about stopping to find seven kicks. Honestly, there are some weeks I don’t want to, but I swore to myself I always will, even on my deathbed, ’cause it really does rather improve one’s outlook on things. Good luck with the insurance folks and such.

    And there’s a Moomin cookbook? I must go read about that.


  9. Waiting Out the Storm looks and sounds truly lovely.
    And the picture of the now six year old made me smile: all that hope and confidence. Happy birthday! Six is so so good.

    Kicks: 1. spring break at UMass where I teach.
    2. Reading Mary Poppins and Peter Pan for class next week.
    3. My daughter starting to volunteer (again) for Reach Out and Read.
    4. My book of poems, Borrowed Names, comes out from Holt this week. Which at the moment makes me feel as nervous as it does kicky. Which is why it gets buried as 4, I suppose.
    5. Hunting down pussy willows, though so far no luck.
    6. Hearing Lita Judge, Grace Lin, Sara Pennypacker, and Elise Broach talk at the Eric Carle museum yesterday. All articulate, honest, and oozing creativity, even when they made it clear that can sometimes bristle.
    7. My husband just handed me a blackberry across the kitchen table.
    Have a good week, everyone. Even those of you who don’t get to live with a six year old lover of glitter glue.


  10. Jules,

    Sorry I missed last week. Love the picture of your older daughter. Happy belated birthday to her!

    MY KICKS (for two weeks)

    1. Grace Lin and her new husband treated me to lunch a week ago Saturday. We had delicious food and great conversation. Later, I took them for a tour of my neck of the woods–a drive along the seacoast in northeast Massachusetts. It was a lovely day.

    2. On Wednesday, we had our reading council’s winter dinner meeting in Salem. Jarrett Krosoczka was our featured speaker. He did a fabulous presentation.

    3. My husband and I had brunch with my daughter and her fiance today at our favorite restaurant–the place where my daughter will have her wedding reception.

    4. Yesterday, my husband and I drove down to the Mark Twain House in Hartford, CT, to attend “A Pen Warmed Up in Hell”–featuring Charles Pierce, author of “Idiot America: How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free” and Matt Taibbi, the national affairs correspondent for Rolling Stone Magazine and author of “The Great Derangement,” “Spanking the Donkey,” and “Smells Like Dead Elephants.” Lots of interesting discussion about the state of affairs of our country and lots of laughs. A great night out!

    5. Signed and sent out a contract to an educational publisher in New Zealand who will be using one of my poems in a literacy kit they’re creating.

    6. On Wednesday, got a call from an educational publisher in Canada who also wants to use one of my poems.


  11. Rat-a-tatoille. I’ll try to be short.

    1. The palette of Waiting Out the Storm — which really captures that grey-day-but-brighter-greens experience.

    2. The cute space between your daughter’s teeth.

    3. If you liked JES’ Onion video suggestion (I did. Ha! What b_llsh_t!) then you might like The Academy Award Winning Movie Trailer (pretty dead-on spoof.)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nFicqklGuB0&feature=related

    4. Listening to my son’s piano lesson going on in the living room as I type this.

    5. Going to see a friend’s installation at the Ten Women Gallery in Venice (great art, crafts, painted scarves, etc.) http://www.tenwomen.org/

    6. Finished reading Roald Dahl biography by Treglown. Geez, quite the writer’s life, between the tragedies, grandiosities and a geniune affinity with children. Started reading The BFG.


  12. The book highlighted this week looks lovely!

    Jules, that is one gorgeous photo of your eldest daughter- she looks so joyful.

    Jone, you have tulips out already?! Lucky!

    Jeannine, congrats on your poems being published!

    I am going to break with our Spring rat-a-tat tribute and ramble.

    We were on our way to visit friends and their four-month-old baby in Bristol on Saturday when our car broke down on the motorway half-an-hour shy of our destination. We ended up having to make the tough decision to pay to get it towed back home (tough because it’s an old car and what if we paid the money and it’s officially dead?) BUT then the good things started happening. Our friends came and rescued us, we had a lovely weekend catching up and wandering around Bristol and best of all I got to have lots of baby cuddles! I’m glad we decided that it was worth continuing on and paying for the train home.

    Oh, and I saw a beautiful brown hare in the field while we were waiting on the side of the (smelly, noisy) motorway. I’ve seen them before but this was close up!


  13. Happy birthday to Miss Piper. You know I am totally with her on the awesomeosity of glitter glue. Also re: cardboard dresses, one of the most successful programs we’ve run at the library is a castle-making program where we spend months gathering up boxes of various shapes and sizes and then we just set a room up with the boxes, glue, scissors, aluminum foil, and gray paper and let the kids do what they will. We’ve run it a couple times through the years, and the kids really get into it. I love that about kids.

    It was a bit of a topsy-turvy week this week, so my peaceful weekend has been welcome. I’ve been reading, writing, practicing my piano, cooking, and doing a little visiting, but not too much. Sometimes it’s good to just focus on basics for a bit.


  14. Jeannine, congrats on your buried kick! Very exciting. Your Eric-Carle kick is pretty great, and reading Mary Poppins is on my to-do list. Hope you enjoyed that blackberry. I liked the immediacy of that kick.

    Elaine, you always have good weeks. I’d love to see JJK speak in person. And the Mark Twain event sounds so great; I covet it. And congrats on the poems getting published!

    Denise, thanks for kick #2. It is pretty great, isn’t it?

    ANOTHER TIME INTERLUDE. You guys providing videos are so good to us kickers today. Denise, that. video. is. hysterical. My favorite part of many was “LEAD FEMALE’S NAME!”

    I’ve been wanting to read the Dahl biography by Conant. I need to get on that.

    Emmaco, I’m glad what could have been a lousy weekend turned around. Is your car dead after all? Hope not. And you didn’t ramble. Even if you had, your rambles are always enjoyable. And, as you know, I always learn one new thing from you.


  15. Adrienne, glad your weekend is better than your week, assuming the topsy and the turvy weren’t the good kind. Mine was topsy-turvy, but it was the busy kind.

    Do you know I want to hear you play piano one day? If I haven’t told you that yet, I so totally do.


  16. Jules, the mechanic will look at the car tomorrow. Fingers crossed! We just want it to last the next 6 months or so before we move back to Aus.

    Denise, I forgot to say I love that trailer! I have been walking around saying “whispered repitition” and “my name” all weekend :)


  17. [...] tip to Denise Doyen, in a comment at the Seven Impossible Things [...]


  18. Denise: LOVE THAT VIDEO. Just had to crib it for a quick drive-by blog posting today… (Are you the once-upon-a-twice lady? If so, I’ll add a link to your site to the credit line.)


  19. Happy 6th birthday to a real cutie-pie! (And happy birth day to the mom and dad!!!)

    Here are my kicks:

    1. Wrote my poem for Jama’s Poetry Month Potluck.
    2. Finished report cards.
    3. Watching the cat play with wrapping paper.
    4. Getting better at spinning class.
    5. It’s warm enough (barely) for salmon on the grill.
    6. Two more weeks until spring break.
    7. Butterfinger Easter eggs. MMMmmmm…


  20. That’s beautiful art by Susan Gaber. And happy birthday, Piper! She’s got a great smile.

    Some kicks:
    1) Feeling better after being sick. I felt like I had superpowers! The ability to walk from room to room! The ability to run errands! Woo hoo!
    2) Seeing Gayle Danley perform http://www.gayledanley.com/
    3) Watching the Paralympics http://player27.narrowstep.tv/assets/players/4304/html/player.html
    4) Watching a performance of Carmen, with Korean leads
    5) Pi Day/Albert Einstein’s Birthday! Have an irrational day!


  21. Waiting Out the Storm looks lovely, such an exquisite palette.

    Happy Birthday to Piper! Jules, such a great capture of a beautiful smile in that photo of her.

    Kicks:
    1. Laughing so hard I fell out of my chair at Saturday poker night last week.
    2. Seeing the ballet of Midsummer Night’s Dream.
    3. Dinner with an old friend this week.
    4. Seeing the play The Receptionist with same old friend.
    5. Taking another friend to a birthday breakfast today. Yummy French Toast!
    6. Thoughtful people in my life.
    7. Sunday shopping in the sunshine.

    Have a great week!


  22. Tarie: The weekend was okay. Plans were cancelled; other plans were made; I ran errands. Yay for the future!

    Rob: Tell your daughter that I said, “Break a leg!” I hope the production goes wonderfully. I love Annie. I’m happy to hear that your community has such an involved theatre program.

    Hi Jama!

    JES: Congrats on crossing the 100,000 word mark, and obtaining new aids! Enjoy your sibling get-together.

    Jone: Thanks. Happy 400th post.

    Lucy: I’m glad that you are okay. I hope everyone else involved is okay as well. Be safe.

    Jules: Thanks! I’ll be preparing for it nightly until then. Meanwhile, the only zombies allowed here are those in Christopher Golden’s books.

    Jeannine: Best wishes with the release of your poetry! How exciting. Congratulations!

    Elaine: Congrats on the forthcoming publications!

    Denise: What lovely background music.

    emmaco: Glad that you are all safe, and that you still got to visit.

    adrienne: I hope this coming week treats you much better than last week did.

    Mary Lee: Please hug the cat for me!

    Tabatha: Hurrah for regaining your strength.

    rm preston: What a great bout of laughter that must have been. I haven’t seen the ballet of AMSND, but I’d like to; it’s my favorite Shakespearian comedy. I was telling someone about The Receptionist earlier this week, but vaguely, as I haven’t seen it and want to know the ending!


  23. Emmaco, crossing fingers for you, too.

    Mary Lee, I’m looking forward to April over at Jama’s place. Do you have big spring break plans?

    Tabatha, I will try my best to have an irrational day…wait, when is it? Was it today? Glad you’re feeling better. And thanks for the link-age. I’ll go exploring later.

    RM, before I forget: What are some good zydeco recommendations for an interested six-year-old? ….You had one kickin’, entertainment-filled week. I’ve interpreted Midsummer so very often into ASL that I can say it in my sleep. Love that play. I like kick #1 the best. That’s a good kind of laughing.

    RM and Little Willow, I don’t know what The Receptionist is, but I’ll look it up, as I trust the taste of my kickers. Oh wait, it’s a play. Not a movie. Oops.


  24. Jules – a zydeco compliation might be best, but names that spring to mind are Rockin Dopsie, Wayne Toups, and Clifton Chenier.

    LW – The Receptionist – the acting was wonderful, especially the two female leads, the play itself had its moments, but not a complete homerun for me.

    LW & Jules – that laughing fit still makes me smile. The chair and I fell over, I was laughing while I was laying on the floor, still laughing as I was helped up and even for some time afterwards. It was a very funny group of people, and a very fun night.


  25. RM, many thanks for the music tips…


  26. Waiting Out the Storm looks awesome. I’ll share one kick for sure – a visit today to the Morgan Library & Museum in NYC to visit the Austen exhibit (now closed – nothing like waiting until the last minute).


  27. Kelly: O! To have seen your face in that place!


  28. Hi all,

    I’m sure most of you are asleep by now, but wanted to leave my kicks and I have been out of town all weekend. Sounds like all of you had a great week, and I’m glad you did!

    My quick kicks:
    1) Being with people you love.
    2) Since I wasn’t able to kick last week because of computer issues, I will belatedly but enthusiastically kick about the Luce concert Bob and I went to. I have mentioned Luce before, but we love the band and they played in the living room of a Victorian house in San Francisco. There were about 30 of us there, and we all crowded into the kitchen to share food and drinks before moving to the living room for the concert. It was fantastic! Just to plug them again, here’s their website: http://www.luceband.com/
    3) Getting my taxes done yesterday. Yay!
    4) Also a bit belated, but watching the Academy Awards (no matter how bad they are) is one of my traditions, and I was happy that Sandra Bullock and Jeff Bridges won.
    5) Realizing that the grass isn’t always greener.
    6) The beautiful white blossoms on the trees in my neighborhood.
    7) Superior Ice House ice cream in Hanford, CA. So darn good.
    8) Bonus kick: Daylight Savings Time! Hooray!

    Have a splendid week, everyone!


  29. Jules, JP will be in Hong Kong and Macau for a couple of days to act as someone’s bodyguard. I kid you not.

    While JP is away, Brian is taking the board exam for landscape architecture.

    Can’t a sister just keep her brothers safe and sound and happy and stress-free in a little cocoon 24/7? Is that too much to ask for?

    Jone, I just finished reading Shine, Coconut Moon by Neesha Meminger. There is A LOT of interesting things to discuss from the book (identity crises, post 9/11 issues, family reunions, etc.).


  30. Jill, a living room concert with one of your favorite bands would rock and is not something I’ve experienced. Amy Correia did fan-funding that involved that. Congrats on getting your taxes done.

    Tarie, nope, that’s not too much to ask for at all, I say.


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